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Public Discourse in the Russian Blogosphere 2010

Public Discourse in the Russian Blogosphere 2010

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Published by Samvel Martirosyan
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Published by: Samvel Martirosyan on Nov 14, 2010
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02/28/2014

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Public Discourse in the Russian Blogosphere:
 Mapping RuNet Politicsand Mobilization
By Bruce Etling, Karina Alexanyan, John Kelly, Robert Faris, John Palfrey, and Urs GasserBerkman Center Research Publication No. 2010-11
October 19, 2010
at Harvard University
 
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Public Discourse in the Russian Blogosphere
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Table of Contents
Abstract1. Introduction2. The Russian Media Ecology
2.1
Traditional Media in Russia 
2.2
Internet Penetration and Usage in Russia
3. Methods Overview and Network Structure
3.1
The Structure of the Russian Blogosphere
4. Political Discourse and Mobilization in the RussianBlogosphere
4.1
 Internationally-linking Public Discourse 
4.2
Russian Media-focused Public Discourse 
4.3
Nationalist  
4.4
Democratic Opposition
4.5
Business, Economics, and Finance
4.6
Social and Environmental Activism
5. Outlinks and News Sources
5.2
YouTube and Politics
6. ConclusionFuture Research Questions
 About this paper 
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, with funding from theMacArthur Foundation, is undertaking a two-year research project to investigate the role ofthe Internet in Russian society. The study will include a number of interrelated areas of inquirythat contribute to and draw upon the Russian Internet, including the Russian blogosphere,Twitter, and the online media ecology. In addition to investigating a number of core Internetand communications questions, a key goal for the project is to test, rene, and integrate variousmethodological approaches to the study of the Internet more broadly. More information about theproject is available on the Berkman Center website:http://cyber.law.harvard.edu.The authors would like to thank our coders: Gregory Asmolov, Slava Nepomnyashchy, VeronicaKhokhlova, Marina Reshetnyak, Masha Pipenko, Aleksei Gornoi, Ivan Popov, Sergei Rubliov,and Egor Panchenko. We also thank Jillian York, Laura Miyakawa, Amar Ashar, Seth Young,Sheldon Himelfarb, Olessia Koltsova, Florianna Fossato, and Ivan Sigal for assistance andcomments on the paper.
 
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Public Discourse in the Russian Blogosphere
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Abstract
We analyzed Russian blogs to discover networks of discussion around politics and public af-fairs. Beginning with an initial set of over ve million blogs, we used social network analysis toidentify a highly active ‘Discussion Core’ of over 11,000. These were clustered according to longterm patterns of citations within posts, and the resulting segmentation characterized through bothautomated and human content analysis. Key ndings include:Unlike their counterparts in the U.S. and elsewhere, Russian bloggers prefer platformsthat combine features typical of blogs with features of social network services (SNSs) likeFacebook. Russian blogging is dominated by a handful of these “SNS hybrids.”While the larger Russian blogosphere is highly divided according to platform, there is acentral Discussion Core that contains the majority of political and public affairs discourse.This core is comprised mainly, though not exclusively, of blogs on the LiveJournal platform.The Discussion Core features four major groupings:— Politics and Public Affairs (including news-focused discussion, businessand nance, social activists, and political movements)— Culture (including literature, cinema, high culture, and popular culture)— Regional (bloggers in Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Israel, etc.)— Instrumental (paid blogging and blogging for external incentives)Political/public affairs bloggers cover a broad spectrum of attitudes and agendas and includemany who discuss politics from an independent standpoint, as well as those afliated withofine political and social movements, including strong ‘Democratic Opposition’ and‘Nationalist’ clusters.The Russian political blogosphere supports more cross-linking debate than others we havestudied (including those of the U.S. and Iran), and appears less subject to the formation ofself-referential ‘echo chambers.’Pro-government bloggers are not especially prominent and do not constitute their own cluster,but are mostly located in a part of the network featuring general discussion of Russian publicaffairs. However, there is a concentration of bloggers afliated with pro-government youthgroups among the Instrumental bloggers.We nd evidence of political and social mobilization, particularly in those clusters afliatedwith ofine political and social movements.The online ‘news diet’ of Russian bloggers is more independent, international, andoppositional than that of Russian Internet users overall, and far more so than that of non-Internet users, who are more reliant upon state-controlled federal TV channels.Popular political YouTube videos focus on corruption and abuse of power by elites, thegovernment, and the police.

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